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Wednesday, October 27, 2010 at 4:36 am
South Africa will unveil plans this week to construct the world’s largest solar power plant, according to a recent Guardian article. The project is expected to cost roughly 200 billion rand (about $300 million), and would be able to supply up to five gigawatts of electricity by the end of its first decade of operation. That would provide sufficient energy for roughly 1/10th of South Africa’s entire energy needs, according to the article.
Giant mirrors and solar panels would be constructed in the country’s Northern Cape province, which is among the sunniest 3% of regions in the world, with minimal rainfall or inclement weather.
South Africa is especially dependent on coal power; the country is more than 90% dependent on coal-fired power stations, according to the article. Additional energy capacity is strongly needed in the country, where one in six of its residents still live without access to electricity. A recent survey shows that 83% of residents are now...
Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at 9:08 am
The Kappen Aquatic Center at the Overbrook School for the Blind in Philadelphia has been awarded a Platinum certification under the auspices of LEED for New Construction, making it the first LEED-Platinum natatorium in the United States, according to a recent article.
The 25,000 square foot facility saves 43% of the energy typically needed to power a similar, conventionally-constructed structure. The $11 million project replaces a 102-year-old former pool building. “Our original goal was just a very efficient green building, so we were surprised to discover our final design strategies could accumulate 53 credits, which would qualify it as the first LEED platinum natatorium in the country,” said Amie Leighton, AIA, LEED AP, project manager, Daley + Jalboot Architects, Philadelphia, in the article.
The majority of the energy savings to be reaped come from features such as insulated concrete forms, and a HVAC dehumidification system that heats and cools the pool’s...
Sunday, October 24, 2010 at 10:46 am
The General Services Administration (GSA) has increased its sustainability requirements and now mandates a Gold level of certification, according to a recent Building Design & Construction article. This represents a change from a previous requirement for Silver-level certification on all projects.
This change was announced by Lance Davis, director of the sustainability office of the GSA, at the Green Legal Matters conference in New Orleans on October 15th.
According to a post covering the announcement on the Virginia Real Estate, Land Use ,and Construction Law Blog, Davis indicated that the LEED Gold requirement would only apply to GSA-owned projects, while GSA-leased properties will still only require a LEED Silver certification. While not necessarily reflected in current agency documents and weblinks addressing sustainability, the change is effective as of September 27th, according to Davis. The blog goes on to point out that the GSA’s mandate may have significant impact...
Wednesday, October 20, 2010 at 9:59 am
The 550,000 square foot MasterCard Technologies campus, in the St. Louis suburb of O’Fallon, Missouri, has become the first project in Missouri to earn LEED-EBOM Gold certification from the USGBC, according to a recent article.
The campus, constructed more than 10 years ago with environmental goals and aspirations in mind, has been awarded the Gold certification as a result of integration of numerous sustainable strategies into its daily operations and maintenance.
"We're honored to achieve this important sustainable milestone, which reflects our overall commitment to environmental stewardship and to supporting the communities where we live and work," said Robert Reeg, president of MasterCard Technologies.
These practices include the recycling of roughly 50% of waste by weight, including paper, cardboard, aluminum, plastic, glass, batteries, wood pallets, light bulbs, and kitchen cooking oil; recycling 100% of shredded documents; composting all non-protein and yard...
Tuesday, October 19, 2010 at 10:12 am
The largest solar array in New Jersey was recently brought online, according to a recent Mother Nature Network article. The array, on the campus of pharmaceutical company Janssen in Titusville, is not only the largest array in the state, but also the largest array overseen by Johnson & Johnson family of companies, of which Janssen is a part.
The new 4.1 megawatt solar array consists of 13,496 ground-mounted panels. Together, the panels will contribute roughly 70 percent of the facility’s annual energy needs. This is equivalent to the power needed by 600 homes per year.
The solar array further enhances the sustainable credentials of the Janssen campus, which earned a LEED Silver certification in 2004 under the auspices of the LEED for Existing Buildings (LEED-EB) Pilot Project.
Below, a video highlights the facility’s newest addition.
Since the facility’s original certification in 2004, the company has continued to “green” the campus with new...
Tuesday, October 19, 2010 at 9:50 am
The new Humane Society of Silicon Valley, in the California city of Milpitas, recently became the first “Animal Community Center” in the country to earn LEED Gold certification from the USGBC, according to a recent article.
"We achieved our Gold LEED certification by reducing our electricity demands and water consumption through a variety of conservation technologies and products while providing state-of-the-art animal care," said Carol Novello, HSSV's president, in the article. "Our Animal Community Center represents a progressive shift in animal care and has truly become an inspiring model of humane care, community involvement and green building design for shelters nationwide."
"Furthermore, by investing in a premium HVAC system, high quality construction practices, and low VOC products, we have greatly improved the health and well-being of our animals," Novello added.
"At our old facility, stress, small cages, overcrowding and poor...
Sunday, October 17, 2010 at 5:03 am
A new facility for the University of Phoenix in the Boise suburb of Meridian recently earned a Gold rating under the auspices of LEED for New Construction, according to a recent news release. In addition to being the University of Phoenix’s first Gold-rated campus, it is also the 11th commercial building to achieve LEED Gold status in the state of Idaho.
“The opening of the new University of Phoenix Idaho Campus demonstrates the University’s continuing commitment to environmental responsibility and leadership,” said Seth Mones, vice president, Sustainability Policy and Programs at the Apollo Group, parent company of University of Phoenix, in the release. “The campus’ LEED Gold certification exemplifies the University’s dedication to innovation both in education and environmental building practices.”
The new 40,000 square foot facility includes learning and administrative spaces.
The Meridian campus showcases a diverse set of...
Sunday, October 17, 2010 at 4:46 am
The following video, produced by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), outlines the many benefits of living in a home built according to the strictures of LEED for Homes. It also highlights the eight major scoring categories of the LEED for Homes rating system, describing how each addresses distinct facets of sustainability.
Benefits of a LEED Home from U.S. Green Building Council on Vimeo.
The LEED for Homes certification acts as a guarantee for would-be homeowners that a new or existing home has been constructed or retrofitted to meet LEED standards, as well as the added value of a third-party verification of a home’s sustainability credentials.
Learn more about the LEED for Homes rating system on the USGBC website.
---Chris TimmermanContributing WriterGreen Education...
Wednesday, October 13, 2010 at 10:19 am
The new Fairmont Pittsburgh hotel has earned a Gold certification from the USGBC, becoming the first LEED-certified facility in the 60-hotel Fairmont chain, according to a recent article.
The announcement was made by Leonard S. Czarnecki, general manager of the luxury hotel, in a press release. “We are proud to continue Fairmont Hotels & Resorts’ tradition of operational sustainability and responsible tourism here at the Pittsburgh location,” stated Czarnecki. “In fact, Fairmont Pittsburgh is the first LEED certified project for Fairmont, and we are looking forward to growing our reputation as a responsible member of this community.”
The Pittsburgh facility, located in the city’s downtown, incorporated a variety of energy and water use measures to garner the certification. Energy Star-rated appliances were used in the facility, along with innovative lighting layouts and fixtures that reduce the overall energy usage of the facility....
Wednesday, October 13, 2010 at 10:01 am
The Yale Environment 360 blog reports on a recent analysis performed by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Renewable Energy Lab which touts the possibility of the US generating up to 20 percent of its energy from wind sources by 2030, if it develops offshore wind farms.
Developing wind farms in the coastal waters of 26 of the country’s states could lead to up to $200 billion in “new economic activity” and up to 43,000 jobs, according to the report. Roughly 20 jobs would be created for every megawatt of energy produced.
The development of offshore wind farms represents a significant development opportunity as well as a challenge; the country leads the world in land-based wind capacity, but has no major offshore wind farms. Europe leads the world in these types of installations, having installed more than 830 turbines with grid connections to nine different European countries. Almost all of the 2,300 megawatts of installed capacity in Europe have been constructed...
Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at 10:26 am
The Pacific Ridge School, a private college preparatory school serving grades 7 through 12 in Carlsbad, California, is aiming for Gold certification under the auspices of LEED for Schools for its new high school building, according to a recent Inhabitat article. The new 32,500 square foot high school building was formally opened in a ribbon-cutting ceremony on August 31st.
The two-story building is centrally-located on the Pacific Ridge campus. Constructed of concrete tilt-up walls and internal steel framing with metal deck, the building includes 19 classrooms in a semi-circular arrangement, as well as four state-of-the-art science labs, two reading lounges, a college counseling area, teacher and administration offices, and a new athletic field. The facility was designed by Carrier Johnson + CULTURE Architects.
The school emphasizes ethical responsibility in its curriculum. Thus, the design team was tasked with the challenge of creating a building that was sensitive to the...
Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at 9:41 am
A recent Mother Nature Network article reports on a recent survey that asked experts to identify the five most important green buildings built since 1980.
The survey, conducted by Architect Magazine, identified 150 green building experts, including architects. The top vote-getter, with 13 votes, was the Adam Joseph Lewis Center for Environmental Studies in Oberlin, Ohio.
The Lewis Center, completed in 2001, is on the campus of Oberlin College. The zero-energy building contains classrooms and office space, an auditorium, an environmental studies library, and a Living Machine wastewater purification system, the article notes. The building is equipped with solar panels and outfitted with furniture that has biodegradable upholstery.
The second-place building was the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano. The building, which achieved LEED Platinum certification, is known for its massive green roof, home to more than 1.7 million plants...
Saturday, October 2, 2010 at 6:42 am
At the end of August, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu announced that smart grid projects funded by federal stimulus money have reached a new milestone—the installation of two million new smart meters. That means that two million consumers and businesses are now able to actively monitor their energy use and make adjustments to improve their energy efficiency while saving money. A recent article reports on this milestone.
"As a result of an unprecedented investment from the Recovery Act, smart meters are being installed in Ohio and across the country to create a more reliable, modern electrical grid and give consumers the ability to monitor and control their energy use,” Chu said during an August press conference in Ohio announcing the achievement. “Smart Grid technologies will give consumers choice and promote energy savings, increase energy efficiency, and foster the growth of renewable energy resources."
Consumers can learn more about the country’s...
Saturday, October 2, 2010 at 6:20 am
A recent Mother Nature Network article reports on a USGBC news release that lists the organization’s activities over the last five years in the ongoing re-construction of the city of New Orleans.
Accomplishments include the development of the Make It Right LEED Platinum community in the Lower Ninth Ward, in conjunction with the movie star Brad Pitt; the establishment of a guideline mandating a Silver level of certification for all new public schools in the city; a plan for four LEED Platinum homes in the city’s Broadmoor neighborhood; and the development of green building training programs to help residents of New Orleans adapt to the emerging green economy.
Other achievements include the establishment of a green movie studio, built to LEED Silver standards; and the repair of 250 homes in five city neighborhoods, under the supervision of the Salvation Army’s EnviRenew project.
These developments are already paying dividends, according to the post. Positive outcomes...
Saturday, October 2, 2010 at 5:55 am
What is being billed as the first LEED Platinum affordable housing community of its kind in the country is currently underway in the Illinois suburbs of St. Louis, according to a recent Earth Techling article about the project. Lexington Farms, in the town of Jerseyville, will be comprised of 32 single-family homes when complete, according to the post. The development is eligible for certification under the auspices of the LEED for Homes program.
Each home in the Lexington Farms development will provide approximately 1,230 square feet, including three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and an attached two-car garage. The homes will be powered by individual “roof-mounted solar panels on all homes, as well as wind turbines throughout the subdivision,” according to the Alliance for Environmental Sustainability, the LEED for Homes provider associated with the project. Even the development’s streetlights will be powered by wind and solar energy, the post notes.
Thursday, September 30, 2010 at 8:43 am
Already home to two LEED Gold certified buildings, Johnson Space Center in Houston was recently awarded a third certification for its Public Affairs Office Building, according to a Mother Nature News article. The 17,644 square foot building was originally built in 1964, and was recently renovated.
"We are extremely proud of the record of green building we are establishing at JSC," said JSC Center Operations Director Joel Walker, in the article. "But we are not satisfied. We have several more projects in the works and our goal is to meet the highest standards provided by the Green Building Council. We plan to continuously reduce the impact of JSC on the environment while providing the highest quality workplace for the unique skills and talents of NASA."
The building is the second Gold-certified building at Johnson Space Center, and the fifth LEED certification overall at the center. Three more buildings on the premises are awaiting certification.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010 at 9:43 am
A recent Mother Nature Network blog post heralds the 200,000th weatherization performed under the auspices of the federal Weatherization Assistance Program. The 200,000 figure includes low-income properties, as well as single and multi-family residential units, all upgrades as part of federal stimulus funds included as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
More than 30 states are one-third of the way through reaching their initial target goal for weatherizations, according to the post. The article cites research done by Oak Ridge National Laboratory that calculates an average of over $400 savings per homeowner during the first year post-retrofit.
A Department of Energy video, below, highlights the achievements of the weatherization program thus far.
In addition to the energy savings, the Department of Energy estimates that roughly 13,000 jobs have been retained or created as a result of the program, in all 50 states.
---Chris TimmermanContributing WriterGreen...
Tuesday, September 28, 2010 at 9:32 am
A recent article explores the findings of a research and consulting firm, whose findings point toward LEED continuing its dominance in the certification of green buildings over the next 10 years.
“By 2020, nearly half the total certified footprint—25 billion square feet—will comprise certifications for existing buildings,” Pike Research said in a press release. Some 22 billion square feet of the total 53 billion square feet of floor space will be covered by LEED, despite the presence of a number of competing certification programs.
“As the new construction market has slowed during the global recession, green building certifications for existing buildings have become an increasing area of focus,” said research analyst Eric Bloom, in the release. “Green building has remained robust during the recession, and with evidence that real estate is picking up worldwide, green building is poised for even stronger growth in the next few years. In...
Thursday, September 23, 2010 at 10:09 am
A useful link on the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ website compares the Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule (RRP) as defined by the Environmental Protection Agency, and as defined by the Massachusetts Division of Occupational Safety (DOS).
The EPA’s RRP rule requires that contractors and construction firms performing renovation, repair, and painting projects that disturb lead-based paint in homes built before 1978, child care facilities, and schools be certified by the EPA, and that these companies use certified renovators who are trained by EPA-approved training providers to follow lead-safe work practices.
Various distinctions between the EPA’s rule and the DOS include differences in licensing fees, requirements for on-site supervision, certification and licensing reciprocity,
While all firms or other entities performing work subject to the RRP rule require certification as “certified firms,” the Massachusetts DOS requires licensure as...
Wednesday, September 22, 2010 at 9:54 am
A recent blog post explores the United States Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Portfolio Program, wherein companies and building owners can “integrate LEED into their new and existing building projects using a cost-effective, streamlined certification process,” thereby permitting the mass certification of LEED-worthy buildings. This is especially useful to developers and owners of properties such as hotel chains or a portfolio of office buildings. A pilot program for the last four years, the program is expected to launch officially later this year.
Called volume certification, the process begins with applicants working with the USGBC to establish a prototype that meets LEED specifications, so that properties developed or retrofitted according to that prototype can be certified more quickly, according to a USGBC release about the process. Project components that will be used throughout a given owner’s portfolio of properties—including anything from water...
Monday, September 20, 2010 at 10:08 am
The mayor of San Francisco, Gavin Newsom, recently announced that the city of San Francisco had achieved an impressive 77 percent landfill diversion rate, surpassing the goal of 75 percent landfill diversion by 2010 and setting national recycling rate records. The highest rate of any city in the United States, San Francisco’s achievement represents a gain of 5 percent over the previous year.
This equates to 1.6 million tons of material, according to the city’s Environment Department, according to a news release about the achievement. This is equivalent to double the weight of the Golden Gate Bridge. Only 560,000 tons of waste went into landfills in the past year, the lowest disposal on record.
“San Francisco is showing once again that doing good for our environment also means doing right by our economy and local job creation,” said Mayor Newsom in the release. “For a growing number of people, recycling provides the dignity of a paycheck in tough...
Sunday, September 19, 2010 at 8:03 am
The Walter L. Rice Education Building at the Rice Center of Virginia Commonwealth University earned Platinum certification according to the guidelines of LEED for New Construction, making it the first building in Virginia to earn such a high certification, according to a University press release.
The $2.6 million education building is located at the Rice Center, a 343-acre “living laboratory” on the James River southeast of Richmond. The building houses lecture and laboratory rooms for classes, a conference room, and administrative offices. The 4,900-square-foot building features a variety of sustainable design moves that promote efficient energy use, and efficient lighting, water, and material use.
“The sustainable features of the building not only reduce our impact on the environment, but also will be directly incorporated into our environmental education programs at the K through 12 and university levels, further increasing the public's awareness and...
Thursday, September 16, 2010 at 10:06 am
After years in the development and pilot phases, LEED for Retail has been approved by USGBC member ballot, and is set to launch later this year. A recent article describes the new rating system, which will require retailers seeking LEED certification to use it in order to achieve certification for their projects.
The new certification consists of two tracks for different types of projects: LEED for Retail: New Construction and Major Renovation, and LEED for Retail: Commercial Interiors. The two systems aim to accommodate the different circumstances retailers face: while some own their buildings, many lease space in buildings owned and managed by others.
The LEED for Retail system took many of the existing credits in other LEED rating systems and tailored them to meet the specific needs of retail outlets, the article notes. LEED for Retail pertains to both a building’s physical systems (design, equipment, and land use) as well as its operation. The retailers that participated...
Thursday, September 16, 2010 at 9:40 am
The new headquarters complex for Johnson Controls, comprised of four new buildings in Glendale, Wisconsin, recently earned a Platinum rating under the auspices of LEED for New Construction (LEED-NC), according to a recent Mother Nature Network article. The company, which specializes in technologies that improve energy efficiency in buildings and automobiles, is a natural match for a LEED building project.
"As a company that's been in the energy efficiency business for 125 years, we believe it was important to set an example and demonstrate the benefits of incorporating the latest green technologies, including many of our own, into a multi-building campus setting," said Stephen A. Roell, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Johnson Controls, in the article. "We're delighted that the U.S. Green Building Council has recognized our efforts with its highest award of LEED Platinum certification. Hopefully, it will encourage others to improve the energy efficiency and...
Saturday, September 11, 2010 at 11:42 am
The Belmont, a new multifamily housing development in Dallas, Texas recently earned a Silver certification under the auspices of LEED for New Construction (LEED-NC), according to a recent Jetson Green blog post. This makes it the first development of its kind in the Dallas area to earn such a distinction.
Encompassing 464 housing units in five buildings, the complex has experienced higher than expected interest since its grand opening, accoding to Jetson Green; this can likely be attributed to its combination of modern design and sustainable features, the blog notes.
Green features of the Belmont include energy-efficient windows and insulation, on-site bicycle storage, close access to public transit, charging stations for electric vehicles, and Energy Star appliances. New residents at the Belmont are supplied with a kit full of green cleaning products when they move in, the post notes. Overall, the facility consumes 20% less water and 36% less energy than a similar...
Saturday, September 11, 2010 at 11:15 am
A new public safety facility in Transylvania County, North Carolina recently earned Silver certification according to the guidelines of LEED for New Construction (LEED-NC), according to a recent news release.
The $17 million facility, designed by Moseley Architects of Richmond, Virginia, is the first public safety building in the state of North Carolina to achieve a Silver certification. Moseley Architects also provided a number of other design services for the facility, including security design and interiors, construction administration, transition consulting and staff training. The site of the Transylvania County facility is master-planned to accommodate other county functions and facilities, including a future replacement courthouse and justice center, according to the article.
The new 63,000 square foot building, located approximately 120 miles west of Charlotte, includes a 120-bed jail, a sheriff’s office with space for detectives and the patrol divisions, jail...
Thursday, September 2, 2010 at 2:14 am
Inhabitat reports on the grand opening of the China World Trade Tower III, which becomes the tallest building in Beijing at 81 stories. Housing a 270-room hotel, offices, restaurants, meeting and commercial spaces, the tower is also aiming for Gold-level certification according to the guidelines of LEED for New Construction (LEED-NC). Altogether, the building has a gross area of 5.8 million square feet.
Designed by global architectural firm Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill and the engineering company Arup, the 330m-tall tower is built to withstand the Beijing area’s occasional earthquakes, while also incorporating numerous sustainable features into its design. Energy-efficient LED lighting on the exterior structure, and a façade covered in fritted glass and metal fins that act as vertical sunshades, reduce the need for artificial lighting while lessening the building’s heating and cooling needs.
According to the article, the building was opened on the 20th...
Thursday, September 2, 2010 at 2:07 am
To mark the 5th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, in conjunction with the Salvation Army’s EnviRenew program, the 2010 US Green Building Council Natural Talent Design Competition is offering the chance for students and emerging professionals to design a small, sustainable, and affordable home for citizens of the Broadmoor neighborhood of New Orleans. According to an article on the competition, all entries are currently on display through the Open Architecture Network, and represent contributions from 31 host USGBC Emerging Professional Committees, which coordinated the local marketing of the competition and the first round of judging.
Each of the homes will be occupied by an elderly couple, and are to be designed to a Platinum level according to the strictures of LEED for Homes. Each home will be 880 square feet, be set 7 feet above grade for flood considerations, and will utilize Universal Design standards, all for less than $100,000.
The top four designs, representing the...
Thursday, September 2, 2010 at 10:37 am
If you have been considering attending Greenbuild this year in Chicago (greenbuildexpo.org) we have some great news for you! GreenEDU will be hosting a Green Associate Seminar in Chicago the day before the conference (November 16, 2010) and we are offering every attendee 2 FREE passes to visit the International Expo Hall November 17th or 18th –a $150 value!
Click here to sign up for class and claim your FREE Greenbuild Expo Tickets! Give us a call at 1-800-355-1751 if you have any questions and we will be glad to help.
About Greenbuild: Greenbuild is the world’s largest conference and expo hall committed to presenting building professionals from across the globe with the latest information, products, and services from the green building industry. Highlights of the conference include educational sessions, distinguished lecture series, sustainable design and building tours, and networking events. Last year almost...
Wednesday, September 1, 2010 at 8:36 am
The National Resources Defense Council blog highlights a two-part video explaining LEED for Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND), created by Eliot Allen of the Portland, Oregon planning consultancy Criterion Planners.
The video provides a step-by-step narrative of how review and certification of neighborhood developments work. Allen’s video focuses on Metro Square, an urban infill development in Sacramento by Mogavero Notestine Architects. Metro Square pre-dates the evolution of LEED-ND but it nonetheless provides valuable lessons on how the certification program plays out. Metro Square would hypothetically earn a Gold rating under the system, even if the credits applied to its certification were limited to those related to energy and carbon emissions.
A companion video, also created by Allen, explores how a municipality may use the LEED-ND certification system to assist planning and zoning. View that video here.
---Chris TimmermanContributing WriterGreen Education...